The Internet should be lit up for the next week and a half, with men freaking out over the full frontal scene that Olivia Wilde did in last night’s episode of Vinyl. Which is a shame, as she shows some true range for the first time in this series. I was cold on her storyline from the start, but I’m learning to really enjoy her journey of self-discovery and self-reliance, as she pushes away from her crazed home life and back into the art world that she left behind to raise a family. I’m also starting to appreciate the trials of the Nasty Bits, and the welcome thrill of the scene where Kip finds a new lead guitarist for the band. The rest of the episode? Not so great.
1. Imaginary Ernst
Vinyl has already proven to be susceptible to some of the most overplayed tropes in the storytelling world, so why not toss in a sleep-deprived hallucination while Richie spirals downward? It starts off bad and only gets worse, with every silly bit of dialogue and line readings that feel ported over from Casablanca.
2. “You are an artist when you say you are an artist.”
Since episode one, the music industry has been treated with the kind of pretentious reverie that it surely does not deserve. But that’s nothing compared to its portrayal of the modern art world of New York. These folks already get a bad rap throughout the universe, with everyone bemoaning their haughty attitudes and questionable taste. Did we really need nonsense like the heavy-lidded creep making odd portraits involving naked bodies (both real and rubberized), and pitiful, withering Andy Warhol?
3. David Bowie
Way to take one of the most charismatic artists to ever grace the stage and make him look as dull and monochromatic as a modern pop star. And so soon after he passed? Blasphemy. Nearly as bad as the version of “Life On Mars?” they cooked up for this episode.
4. Bobby Cannavale’s neck muscles
Does he have a special workout regimen for those? He looks like he could pull a freight train with nothing but his throat.
5. Richie tries to bang his secretary
The most uncomfortable sex scene in a Martin Scorsese production since I had to watch Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone get it on in Casino. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to wash the memory of either out of my brain.
6. The opening credits
Us lucky TV writers get a chance to see episodes of the shows we’re covering well before they air. But that also means we sometimes don’t get treated to the opening and closing credits, since those things are still being worked out in anticipation of airtime. That means I’ve never had the displeasure of seeing Vinyl’s opening credits until I sat down with tonight’s episode as it aired, and… I wish I hadn’t. It looked like an overproduced ad for top shelf liquor, or a soft drink. Or like the visions that Gene Simmons sees in his mind when he masturbates.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor toPaste. You can find more of his writing here;.